Cricket club wins fight

A village cricket club has won a victory against plans to build an office on its ground.

East Preston Parish Council has been forced to withdraw its application which outraged sports groups and residents.

Hundreds of people got involved in a campaign against a new parish office at Warren Recreation Ground.

Simon Locke, captain of the cricket club, said the council's U-turn was good news for everyone that used the pitch.

He said: "The cricket club was organising the campaign but the whole point of it was that it was on behalf of the village, not just a small group.

"Shops have been displaying signs against it in their windows and everyone has given their support.

"It is a lovely piece of green land and it's great news it will stay that way.

"We can now get on with looking forward to playing cricket rather than leading campaigns."

The recreation ground was left to the people of East Preston by the Warren Family who were influential landowners.

It has been graced by famous cricketers including Sir Garfield Sobers and Tony Greig The cricket and stoolball clubs use it regularly as well as dog walkers and people playing football.

In a meeting with the cricket club, parish councillors agreed to back down if there were more than 500 objections.

More than 700 people wrote to Adur District Council with their concerns.

No-one from the parish council was available to speak to The Argus yesterday.

However, in a statement issued earlier, the council said it would withdraw the plans because of the high volume of opposition.

It said it still needed new office accommodation and would continue to look for a suitable site.

East Preston Parish Council currently does all its paperwork and administration from a portable cabin in the village hall car park.

It has been looking for a permanent base for several years and claimed building on the recreation ground would avoid a council tax increase to fund it.

The office was planned for the north-east corner of the recreation ground where cricketers said it would encroach onto the playing area.

It would also have meant the demolition of a memorial tree and bench honoring team stalwart John Banfill who died ten years ago of a heart attack.

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